The Sunday Mail
ON September 19, the European Union (EU) released a press statement indicating that it had formally communicated its intention to suspend its US$5 million financial support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Richard Runyararo Mahomva
However, it has emerged that the EU had contributed US$4,7m (£3,7m), and from that, a paltry US$1 million had been used since 2022.
The donation was part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pool fund being managed by ZEC.
The EU donation was scheduled to last until December 2024.
The sensationalist sentiment caused by that statement exaggerates the importance of EU donations to ZEC, and yet Treasury makes a tenfold contribution to ZEC’s operations every year outside the five-year election cycle and the few circumstantially imposed by-elections.
ZEC’s operations will not crumble because the EU withdrew its US$4,7 million donation, which was meant to support ZEC over a period of two years.
One wonders if it was even necessary for the EU to announce this withdrawal of funding, as if it had announced its initial support to ZEC in 2022.
I submit that the dramatisation of this withdrawal is a sequel to the antagonist (mis)representation of the 2023 election credibility in the EU observer report.
I further present that the EU’s stance is part of its traditional post-land reform demonisation of Zimbabwe and ZANU PF.
The EU’s position is an expression of its frustration to ZANU PF’s victory instead of its preferred party.
The EU cited “… concerns raised by several international Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs) regarding the independence and transparency of ZEC during the 2023 harmonised elections.”
In the pre-election period, the EU pledged to be part of the UNDP donor cohort targeting enhancing “ZEC’s institutional and technical capabilities to fulfil its constitutional mandate”.
The EU sent its observers for the 2023 harmonised election.
As expected, the EU observer mission produced a report which suggested that the outcome of the election was not credible.
The EU has perennially majored on perceived irregularities associated with our elections.
Their blatant anti-ZANU PF election observer reportage has legitimatised the usually unmerited claims of electoral fraud.
This has been the consistent post-land reform constructivism of our electoral terrain.
Manufacturing Zim’s electoral crisis: Lessons from 2018
In 2018, the EU’s election report broadly reflected the polemic sentiment of the then MDC-Alliance, which suffered drastic factional degeneration thereafter and emerged as the Citizens Coalition for Change led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa in the run-up to the 2023 election.
The August 1 violence was solely blamed on the State’s reaction to the MDC-A organised violence in the streets of Harare.
Conceding to the discourse of disproportionate violence, largely driven by the West and its native proxies, President Mnangagwa’s administration immediately called for the establishment of the Motlanthe Commission.
This was against the logical need to prosecute the MDC-A officials, who to this day remain principal suspects for organising the illegal and violent August 1 riots.
The MDC-A propaganda-induced and hired protestors, who were joined by unsuspecting citizens, demanded ZEC announcement of election results a day after the election.
This was in direct violation of the statutory stipulated timeline for that process to occur.
Owing to that mischief and in the interest of political expedience, six innocent souls lost their lives (may their souls rest in eternal patriotic peace).
ZANU PF was blamed for this unfortunate development, which was used to discredit its victory, notwithstanding President Mnangagwa’s leniency, as he could have taken advantage of his incumbency to ensure that organisers of the August 1 violence were arrested.
Our sin of decolonising property rights
I make reference to this case in point to illustrate the extent to which the so-called international community has incessantly applied selective amnesia in the service of discrediting ZANU PF and protagonising the opposition.
It is even becoming increasingly clear that no amount of political reform by ZANU PF and Government entities will appease those nations and multilateral groupings that have arrogated themselves the responsibility to be moral prefects of African politics. No amount of accountability, bureaucratic efficiency and inclusive policy propositions will atone for Zimbabwe’s sin of reclaiming the land from colonial ownership.
The nations and international organisations embittered by our agrarian revolution continue to present themselves as surrogate parents to our protracted liberation-earned democracy.
They continue to arrogate the responsibility to be our human rights-adherence prefects.
Such innuendos are visible in the last EU statement: “The EU remains open to the possibility of resuming its contribution to support efforts aiming at strengthening the electoral processes and bring such processes closer to the regional and international standards that Zimbabwe has signed.
Parental surrogacy to our sovereignty and democracy
The West’s self-imagined parental surrogacy to our independence is explicitly demonstrated in the way the EU vows to “continue closely monitoring developments in Zimbabwe and reaffirms its commitment to collaborate with the Government, independent commissions, civil society, and other stakeholders in promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law”.
This position goes against the legitimacy that institutions like ZEC derive from the electorate and our Constitution.
It is a public secret that some sections of the “civil society” referred to in the statement have played “constable” role for Anglo American interests in Zimbabwe politics.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the (Nevers) Mumba report, which purported to represent the views of the SADC about our last election, merely reproduced the flagship narratives of this regime-change civil society movement and its native parent – the CCC.
Clearly, the EU’s action is mere anger and regret for supporting a losing opposition.
This is why it’s support to ZEC was short-term rather than long-term.
From a business point of view, and understandably so, after the ZANU PF election victory, the funding had to be cut off.
Back to the future
The EU acted within the confines of its autonomy with its resources, and progressive Zimbabweans must welcome that.
As a sovereign organ, the EU chooses when to give what, to who and how.
Even without any foreign support, it must be known that Treasury’s support to ZEC is enough to keep our electoral democracy alive.
The constitutional magnitude of ZEC’s mandate will not be hurt by the suspension of support by any nation or group of nations.
We have been running elections on our own and we will continue to do so.
In fact, the election that gave us national independence had no donor funding.
Therefore, we cannot expect the electoral consolidation of our democracy from external players.
From the outset, the record must be set straight: The election outcome was never disputed. The results were widely received across the political divide, hence the multitudes that thronged the inauguration and the multi-party swearing-in of parliamentarians.
The notion of a disputed election only resides in the narrow view of those who wanted ZANU PF and President Mnangagwa to lose the election.
The position by the EU brings to light the absolute independence of ZEC and its robust institutional integrity and functional stability not to fall victim to the whims of donors with respect to national democratic processes.
The EU stance is consistent with their unmerited discrediting of ZANU PF and President ED Mnangagwa’s victory in the just-ended elections.
Zimbabwe’s electoral democracy must and will never be surrogate to neo-colonial parentage.
That must be made categorically clear.
Richard Runyararo Mahomva is the Director for International Communication Services in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. The article reflects his personal views and not those of the Government of Zimbabwe.